Saturday, July 28, 2012

An Apology of Sorts

I know I said a few months ago that I was going to stop apologizing for, well, everything, but I've been re-reading some posts over the last day or so and I was really surprised at how negative everything was.  For those of you who keep coming back, thank you for tolerating all my swearing and whining and frustration.  I see this as a really safe space but sometimes I think I overdo it a bit, and your understanding means the world to me.

Look! A cute picture of my dog!

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Friday, July 27, 2012

Things I've Been Doing

Well I've just passed through another blogging dry spell.  I have an excuse this time, which is that I spent the week in Chicago for work, and what a ridiculous, stressful week it was.  By the time I flew back (yesterday) I literally could not form a coherent thought because my brain was so fried.  Also, my brain sucks and refuses to allow me to sleep in past 7:30am even when I get home from the airport at 2am, so this post might definitely will have some incoherence left over from last night. My apologies.

I could go into what we spent all our days doing there but I really couldn't do so without context.  I've considered for awhile writing a post about what I do for work, but I'm not sure if that would even be all that interesting to read. I get asked about it a lot actually and it requires like a minute-long spiel to explain it.

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Came up with an idea to hide tattoos: BOOTS AND CARDIGANS. WIN.

Anyway, work was really stressful. We worked 8 or 9 hour days all week (including a Sunday) and had working lunches every day, and since there weren't a lot of gluten-free options in the immediate vicinity I had to eat salads, potato chips and candy while everyone else ate Chicago-style pizza and sandwiches from Jimmy John's. I don't mind all that, but eating a salad in the face of yummy pizza can be pretty demoralizing after awhile. Plus the very nature of a project go-live is such that everyone's running around like headless chickens and everything feels really chaotic.  It was great to not worry about life at home for awhile, but still, it was pretty exhausting.

The upside to being in Chicago was that I got to meet up with a few friends I haven't seen since college, which was really, really awesome and a great way to end my day.  I ate at the same Mexican restaurant every night, which was yummy but dangerous because at one point they tried to serve me flour tortillas, and I seriously almost ate them.  If my friend Jessica, whose mother has celiac disease, hadn't pointed out to me that they were clearly flour tortillas I totally would've nommed on them and then vomited all over my hotel room.  Can't take that shit for granted I suppose.  I also got sexually harassed on the street so I think I got the full city-living experience.

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Rob's been gone since Friday, July 20. The Thursday prior to that we got a call at around 4:30pm from his squad leader saying that they had to go in by 7:30 as they were heading off to Colorado.  I guess I underestimated how burned out I was, since I was surprised at the extent to which I totally fucking broke down.  I cried and I couldn't even look at Rob, couldn't even conceive of the fact that we had a weekend evening ripped from us and were facing yet another 14 days apart with minimal communication, and that led me down the rabbit hole of just being so fucking frustrated that my husband picks "lifestyle" jobs instead of just normal boring shit like everyone else.  Have you ever read the story "The Rocket Man" by Ray Bradbury? It feels like that sometimes. Luckily the call got cancelled, so we had the night together, but goodbye in the morning was tough.  As was the next 5 days we went with one or two text exchanges and one phone call.

But I'm here, and we're on day 7 or 8 or who-fucking-cares-because-it-always-changes of the roll so at least we're on the downward slope.  And let's just say I've earned my Saturday, which will be spent in my brand-new hammock with a margarita and a massive collection of Ray Bradbury short stories.

AND NOW MORE PHOTOS:

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Lobby of the hotel we stayed in.

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View from the room we spent all week working in.

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The aforementioned new hammock. I really can't even describe how excited about this I am.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Links from Another Dimension

The Ultimate Assault: Charting Syria's Use of Rape to Terrorize its People.

EMERGENCY TATTOO!

Why Millenial Women Don't Want to Lead.

The "busy" trap. Thanks to a college friend, Susanna, for these last two links.

Geology: surprisingly erotic.

The Competition is Killing Us: When Social Media Makes You Feel Like Crap.

Individualism in Overdrive.  Very interesting article about "me first" ideology.

Take the 1930s Marital Scale Test to find out if you would have been considered a good spouse in the 1930s. For your reference, I received a score of -7 (Very Poor - Failure). Funny, that was in my wedding vows!

What's Wrong with #firstworldproblems.

28 Sexy Pictures of Older Actors When They Were Young. I'd do all of them, ladies included. Especially John Slattery, but I'd probably do him now too. (via Nova)

Video games vs. real life.

If Video Game Characters Got the Deaths They Deserve.

This is fucking depressing: Rich Kids of Instagram.

Meet the woman with 500 life-like horror dolls that she treats like real babies.

This story about helping a deaf and blind man cross the street totally warmed my heart. So beautiful. (via Suzy and Nova)

9 Great Non-Believers in U.S. History.

This might be the best headline ever: 600-Year-Old Bra and Underwear Discovered in Austrian Castle.

25 Best Pieces of Breaking Bad Fan Art.

I feel like this could come in handy: Icon Finder.

L-O-V-E makes the world go W-E-I-R-D.

Um, what?

These bikers help abused children feel safe. How sweet and awesome is this?

Hyper-realistic finger painted portraits.

The 50 Cutest Things That Ever Happened. (via Nova)

Drag Queens: Before and After.  Thanks to my friend Karen for this!

Hilarious and adorable: a 6-year old judges books by their covers. (thanks Meg!)

Friday, July 20, 2012

Operation: Pimp our Patio

I'll go ahead and grant credit for this title to Liz, because she came up with it for me on Twitter.

One of my favorite things about the house we live in is our awesome little patio; not only does it have an amazing view, it also is wonderfully private and secluded.  Unfortunately none of the hodgepodge of furniture that came with the house was comfortable enough to use out there, and the desert sun of the dry season made it absolutely unbearable to be out for even a few minutes.

Before Rob left for a staging roll last week, he mentioned to me that he wanted to totally trick out the patio now that it's cooled down and now that we have a solid set of friends we could actually invite over to enjoy it.  After visiting a friend' house and laying in her hammock I mentioned that we should, indeed, get a hammock for it too.

Last night we strung up some pretty lights, pruned the trees, cleaned up some of the spider webs and various debris and began the process of making our patio awesome.  I'm waiting for the hammock to come (and I swear to god I'm going to lay in it every single day), but we set up both table/chair sets and the fire pit in a way that is conducive to having friends over.  We also cleaned the cushions on a chair-swing thing that came with the place and started sweeping up the pine needles and ant hills.

Robbie left again this morning (fucking lame) and will most likely be gone for his full 14 day roll (bittersweet), and I'm heading to Chicago for work tomorrow.  But we decided that when we're both finally home we will finish it all up and hopefully spend every night out there.  I seriously can't wait to lay in the hammock and just look at the stars together, guys.  Seriously.

I'm not one to share DIY or LOOK WHAT WE DID posts, but I'm really excited about this.  We've never had such an awesome outdoor space that didn't come with a million mosquitoes and I am so ready to enjoy it.

Here are some photos of the project so far if you're interested:

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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Featured on Texas Lovebirds

Today I'm over at Carly's blog, Texas Lovebirds, talking about what it's like to be married to a firefighter.  Click the picture below to check out what I have to say and to say hello!

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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Why My Dog and I are the Same Person

I remember a few months ago or so, my mother-in-law told me that Cypress and I were one of those dog-owner duos that resemble each other.  Honestly I think it's the wide-eyed stare and near-constant anxiety.  And maybe the drool.

Today I had to take Cypress to the vet for a dental procedure--essentially they knocked her the hell out and then chipped away the tartar that's built up on her teeth.  In the long-term this will help prevent infections that can stem from tooth decay and also from all her teeth rotting out of her skull.  As I dropped her off I realized that Cypress and I have a lot more in common emotionally than I feel most people should have with their dogs.

I just realized that all of these have to do with anxiety.  Telling, eh?

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1. For one, Cypress and I both anticipate upcoming events. When it's time to walk, and we haven't left yet, Cypress will pace, stare, and generally act panicky until we've left.

2. We both need to be "hugged" or snuggled when we're feeling unstable. For Cypress, she wedges herself between my knees when she starts to feel anxious.  I personally make Rob hug me for an awkward amount of time.

3. Our minds race when we feel worried.  Obviously I can't really speak to Cypress's mind since, you know, she's a dog, but I can tell by her manic reactions that she must have a similar thought process as me.

4. Our go-to stress reaction is to cry.  For Cypress this comes out more as a crazed whine, but maybe other people would say the same of me.

5. Our anxiety builds off the anxiety of the other one.  If Cypress is uncomfortable (like today, as she recuperates) I can feel my heart pounding.  Cypress can feel my worry from the other room and will usually react accordingly.

6. We both think that Rob is pretty much the best thing ever. Like seriously, ever.

7. We both have really nice eyebrows...and now, nice clean teeth!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A Post About Nothing

I am officially not going to stress about to coherence of this post.  And if you make it through it, I will reward you with a photo of a bunny.

Can anyone else believe that this summer is almost halfway over? I've been feeling really conflicted about this fact, since summer is my favorite season but winter this year means that I'll have Rob all to myself for 6 straight months.  Plus we're planning some pretty badass activities (including a possible trip to Europe, maybe a few new tattoos, a cross-country drive to Maine for a month or so, and lots of snuggles) so for the first time since childhood I have some very positive associations with winter.


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Robbie and I were talking the other day about how despite the fact that we've been apart before, and that we have been apart for most of this summer, it never gets easier being away from each other.  Quite  to the contrary, actually, it seems to get more difficult. Rob is of the mind that it's impossible to really "get used" to something like this and that it's more likely that we're just getting more burned out and more tired.  Makes sense, I suppose. I know a lot of people think it's ridiculous that two people could be so attached to one another, but it's just how we are.  Neither of us have felt a need to spend time away from the other or ever needed a break, ever.  The man's my best friend and I think I could spend every second with him.

I know it sounds like everything is all doldrum-y sadness around these parts but that's far from the truth.  It's difficult but I've been keeping busy and hanging out a lot with awesome new friends, as well as planning some trips for the end of this summer (get ready, Michelle and Lindsey!).  My friend Amie is coming to stay with us for awhile in early September, and we're planning on checking out the Grand Canyon and California once Robbie's done with fire season.  All in all, despite the difficulty, I think I will be able to confidently say that 2012 was a great summer.

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You know what my favorite part of the X-Files is? Seeing all the outdated technology and shitty special effects.  I saw Scully typing away on what appeared to be a laptop, but when they showed the blue screen with DOS font I realized that it was just a word processor.  Isn't it crazy to think that I carry around a super-computer in my hand that can do more than the machines that were used to power space shuttles not all that long ago? Sometimes I like to imagine what our world would look like to a person from, say, 1950, who just magically appeared here.  Something like Star Trek used to, I would imagine. Oh, you want to hear any fucking song in the world? Here, let me do that for you.  Want to communicate with someone 10,000 miles away in real time? NBD motherfucker. Am I the only one that thinks this kind of stuff?

Well there you go, a post that I didn't stress at all about.  And since I'm a girl of my word:

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Saturday, July 14, 2012

A Study in Fire Season Playlists

Early on in therapy, before my therapist got to know me pretty well, she suggested soothing music as a way to relax when I was feeling stressed.  For me, however, "soothing" music (which I consider to be of the indie hipster genre...Bon Iver and other insufferably sleepy stuff) actually causes me more anxiety than calm.

When I'm feeling sad or anxious, the best kind of music for me is loud, energetic, and melodic, particularly in the genres of punk, country, and Celtic rock.  I've always had sensitive hearing and tend to shy away from loud sounds, but when I'm feeling off, blasting (and singing along to) awesome music as loud as I can is one of the only things that can actually make me feel better.  I think it's because the loud music drowns out my endless cycle of nasty thoughts, but that's just a guess.  In an attempt to make this process easier, I made myself a "Fire Mix - Happy" playlist for those times when it feels like my brain is working against itself.

All that said, sometimes I just like to listen to sad music and fucking wallow.  I still don't generally listen to sleepy shit, but still, it's music more appropriate for wallowing. I made a playlist for that too - "Fire Mix - Sad."

I wanted to share these playlists with you guys and ask for your advice on any songs you think might fit either of their criteria.

As you can see there's no real consistency in content; the topics of these songs range from drug use and drinking, to infidelity, to losing your job, to plain old absurd nonsense.  It's mostly about the melody and the rhythm, what can I say?

Fire Mix - Happy

1. CCR - "Bad Moon Rising" 
2. CCR - "Out my Back Door"
3. Flogging Molly - "Revolution"
4. Hank Williams III - "Medley: Satan is Real/Straight to Hell"
5. Social Distortion - "Far Side of Nowhere"
6. Social Distortion - "Still Alive"
7.  Social Distortion - "Sick Boys"
8. Social Distortion - "When She Begins"
9. Flogging Molly - "Likes of You Again"
10. Flogging Molly - "Tobacco Island"
11. Hank Williams III - "Smoke and Wine"
12. Hank Williams III - "Crazed Country Rebel"
13. Mike Ness - "Don't Think Twice"
14. Mike Ness - "Ballad of a Lonely Man"
15. Mumford & Sons - "Little Lion Man"

Fire Mix - Sad

1. Dan Andriano in the Emergency Room - "This Light"
2. Gotye - "Somebody that I used to Know"
3. Hank Williams, Jr. (and Sr.) - "Tear in my Beer" (I know, I know)
4. Alkaline Trio - "Fine"
5. The Band Perry - "If I Die Young" (I know)
6. Dan Andriano in the Emergency Room - "Hurricane Season"
7. Social Distortion - "Diamond in the Rough"
8. Social Distortion - "Bakersfield"
9. Nick 13 - "Nighttime Sky"

What music do you guys listen to when you're feeling anxious or sad?

Friday, July 13, 2012

A Happy List

I figured after my Debbie Downer of a post yesterday I'd shine a little bit of positivity on your faces this morning.  Sometimes you just have to focus on the positive, especially when you run out of vodka.

Here are some things that are making me happy this week:

1. Your sweet comments on my last post. You guys are awesome, and even though you live in my computer I count you all as friends.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.

2. Four whole days with my husband. It's always better when we're together.

3. Episodes of 30 Rock, Murder She Wrote, X-Files, and Quantum Leap on Netflix.  Yeah, what? I'm a nerd.

4. The Twilight drinking game Robbie and I played earlier in the week.  We laughed through the whole movie and that's just my favorite thing ever.

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5. Never-ending laughing fits in the car with Rob about nothing.

6. Having Rob for an additional evening on Friday after they finish refurbing the trucks.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Figuring it Out

I feel like I haven't written a real post in quite some time and truthfully it's been weighing on me.

To be honest with you guys I haven't been doing so great lately.  I think one of the downsides to getting mentally healthy and learning how to combat the negative bullshit is that instead of just the bad voice in your head you have two conflicting voices, at least when you're still in treatment limbo.  The anxiety this has created has led to a really weird spiral of depression, a depression I haven't experienced since some of my most stressful years in high school.  My mind has been descending into some strange-ass places and when it's really bad, I hardly feel in control of it at all.*

The anxiety and depression are due to many factors, namely the fact that my husband is still leaving to go on fires leaving me alone and sad and will be for the next 2 months, and that work has been incredibly stressful of late.  I'd been vacillating between the two for the last week or so, worrying about one or the other at any given time, but this morning (I'm always more stressed in the morning) it all came crashing down on me at once.  My therapist has me rate my anxiety 1-5 each day, and today was the first day ever I could give it a 5.  It was awful. Rob helped a ton, as usual, but I also know that I generally just have to ride out the meltdowns and eventually I can start rebuilding my sanity again.

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't totally exhausted with the effort. I haven't been eating (I've lost about 5 pounds so far this summer) and I'm constantly sleepy and bordering on sick. It's both bizarre and paralyzing to be so self-aware and yet feel so helpless to fix it.

I was really open about it in therapy this week, and my therapist and I are trying to come up with some effective strategies--and maybe additional sessions--with the goal of fixing this or at least getting me to a  more functional level.  I'm also hoping to integrate writing--either here or privately--into the healing if you guys aren't totally sick of these whiny, self-indulgent depression posts yet.

Let me say now that in general I'm really happy and I know how fortunate I am in so many ways.  As those of you who suffer from anxiety and depression know, they are insidious and can sneak up in the most inopportune moments and I'm often caught off guard by it.

To lighten the mood, here's a picture of my husband's feet while he played a new video game on my iPad:

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Adorable, right?

*For any family/friends reading this, please don't be concerned.  Life is awesome and I have no self-destructive tendencies.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Midweek Bits and Pieces

The only thing that's really important and awesome about this week is that my Robbie is home, not on call, until Thursday.  And I've been really stressed about work, which sucks but also has the unintended consequence that I'm not as worried about Rob leaving or divorcing me since all my worrying-energy is devoted elsewhere. A WIN-WIN I'D SAY.

1. Monsoon season has officially arrived to Santa Fe. It's amazing how drastically it affects the weather; before we were experiencing 90-95 days on the regular (yeah, I'm cool) and a sun that would just would not let up.  Now that the monsoons have started it's been in the 70s and 80s and humid, plus we're even getting rain every day now. I must say I was dubious when I heard "monsoon," but so far it's living up to its name.  Well played, desert.

2. This "weekend" with Robbie has been amazing. I'm not sure if it's that we spent a total of 10 days together in June or some other factor but this time has just felt different, and I love it. I couldn't be happier that he's home, even though it's only for a short while.  One of the only positive aspects of separation is how truly wonderful the reunion is.

3. Our anniversary was lovely, and thank you guys for all the kind wishes.  In the morning I woke up early and made Robbie breakfast in bed.  I'm nice like that.  We spent all day together, just hanging out and enjoying each other's company.  Later Robbie bought me flowers and took me out for yummy food and margaritas at the Zia Diner. It was really mellow and totally us; in fact, one of my favorite things about my marriage to Robbie is our ability to do absolutely nothing together.  Really I think I'd rather do nothing with him than anything else.

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4. I found 202 episodes of The X-Files on Netflix.  GUESS WHAT I'LL BE DOING NEXT FIRE ROLL.

5. When you're watching TV or a movie and the characters come across something that smells bad, do you breathe through your mouth? I totally do too.

Hope you all are having a wonderful week so far!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Obligatory Anniversary Post

Two years ago today, I married my best friend and attended the most badass party ever.

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I've tried to write this post about 13 times, failing each time because I simply don't have the words to explain what my Robbie means to me.  I really can't understand how I got so goddamn lucky to have found someone who truly understands me and has yet to run screaming from my crazy ass, but here we are and I could not be happier.  

In December we will celebrate 10 years together and I don't think I can think of a better way to have spent more than a third of my life.  Though it's been difficult, and though we've been through hell and back, I'd do it all again in a heartbeat because it's brought us to this fucking awesome place we are now.

Rob, Robbie, Robbit, Ruby, husband, I love you so fucking much it hurts. I can't wait to spend the rest of my life by your side.  Happy Anniversary, douchebag.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Links and Things

Why American Kids are so Spoiled.  Rob and I have talked about this a lot, and frankly kids today (and their parents) are a lot of the reason I'm positively terrified to have children some day.  Via Nova.

I can't remember if I've shared this before but whatevs: 9 Unintentionally Threatening Notes and Drawings by Children.

Cosmo's 44 Most Ridiculous Sex Tips.

The 25 Greatest Unscripted Lines in Film History (video).

14 First-World Problems from the 90s. (via Justine)

Best Breaking Bad GIFs.

Best of the "Hey Girls! Did You Know about your Boobs?" meme.  I like the dinosaur ones personally.

The book seer will tell you what book to read next based on the last book you read.

101 Tips from the World's Most Famous Authors.

This and this could keep me entertained for hours.

Check out this amazing MLK portrait made of Rubik's Cubes.

Famous movie characters depicted as Charlie Brown characters.

Chicago vs. Chicago: Round 3.

My sister told me about the comics on Hark, a Vagrant and I'm addicted.  Thanks Meg!

Here's some awesome street art of 2011.

How much bullshit hides in your writing?

What Dr. Seuss Books were Actually About. (via Nova)

The Godfather vs. Arrested Development.

Super Mario Brothers Characters Drawn Realistically in a Noir Style.

Awesome photography gifts and gear for photographers. Can someone get me the shot glass set? And the iPhone shutter grip?

Thursday, July 5, 2012

A Week in the Homeland

You guys are pretty fabulous for sticking with me though I've been so markedly absent.  In fact, my follower count has gone up, how does that make sense? My insecure self assumed that was a message that you guys like when I post less and therefore follow more, ha.

Rob's been gone since 6/23 and honestly, I know I say this every time, but it feels like it's been fucking forever.  Even Rob agrees with that assessment.  I think part of it was that the first fire he was on was in a nasty bit of terrain and the boys weren't allowed to be on their phones at all.  The other part of it was that this was his 3rd 14-day roll in like, three months and we are so fucking over it.

Anyway as I alluded to in my last post, I flew to the Northeast on the 29th for some family time.  I arrived in Boston, hooked up with my sister Megan and made the long drive downeast (stopping in New Hampshire to have lunch with my ma, of course).  I won't bore you with the details of every single day; I'll just say that it was filled with a lot of work (I was on intermittent calls for 8 hours on Monday and Tuesday), boat rides at night, swimming, booze, fireworks, family, and amazing food made by my dad.

My one regret of the visit was that I wasn't all that present, which I'm sure was relatively obvious to anyone who was paying attention.  Being home without Rob reminded me of when he was in the military, when I had to answer questions about where he was and what he was doing and whether he liked it or not.  The emerald green of the trees and the deep blue of the lake/ocean just aren't home without him. It just hurt being alone again, I guess.  Plus I was terrified that they'd come home early and I'd miss him, which happily has turned out not to be the case.  If all goes well I should see him on Sunday night or Monday at the latest. He'd tell you that this was a pretty overdramatic assessment of being without him, but he was in the middle of the desert and it's my blog so shut up Rob in my head.

Here are various photos from Megan's apartment in Boston, dad's house on the lake, Rob's parents' house on the coast, and everything in between.  Hopefully it gives you a good idea of Maine and particularly the area of Maine that Rob and I are from. I apologize that they are iPhone photos - my camera's sensor is dirty and I'll be damned if I find the time to go get it cleaned.

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Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Links for You

These hedgehogs are sorry you had a rough day.

88 Books that Shaped America.

I'm in love with all of this Arrested Development tribute art. (via Nova)

Ray Bradbury Predictions Fulfilled. (via Nova)

(Everything) in a Jar: Handmade Gifts. I know, I know, a DIY post, but I love this idea!

Check out this camera that can shoot in 1000 megapixels. Most computers can only hold one of these photos.

The Grand Canyon, three ways. I've only seen the South Rim (since we had to do quick trips) but I think I'm going to take Rob to the North Rim when we go in October.

How McDonald's Burgers are Photographed.  Call me gross, but I can't eat fast food burgers because of the celiac disease and I really miss them.

A Supercut of Every Movie Ever Screened on Mystery Science Theater 3000.  If you aren't a total nerd like me you may not appreciate this but I will say that I watched the entire thing. (via Betsey)

These fruit and veggie skulls are both awesome and terrifying.

People who say they're moving to Canada because of ObamaCare.  Good luck guys!

Screwy portraits.

36 Terrible Sex Tips for Men. Did you know that 81% of women do not want you to try anal sex without asking?

You guys have to know by now that I'm so into this shit - Classic Photos of Celebrities.

Play old Game Boy Color games using HTML5! This kept me busy for some time.

You've probably seen this photo of a disfigured Marine and his wife on their wedding day; here is the entire photographic set with their story.

This note from a kid made me laugh.

Crafts made from Altoid Tins!